I hope you had an amazing Easter! I certainly did! I was privileged to sing in our church's choir this year at six services (2 Saturday and 4 Sunday). The really exciting part is that a total of 8,401 people attended all of the services and 344 adults were saved!! (There were a lot of kids saved too, but I don't have the numbers.) Whoohoo! 344+ people had their names written in the Book of Life! Man! That is what it's all about, folks!
So this morning I was sharing all this with one of my clients and somehow we got onto the subject of baptism. I told her my story and I decided I'd tell you too.
As I've mentioned many times on this blog, I grew up in church. I've known who Jesus is and have loved him all my life. But it wasn't until I became a mother myself that I finally truly understood the love God has for us. I had all of Jesus up to that point in my life, but he didn't have all of me. So in May 1993 I surrendered everything and have never looked back!
Well, somewhere around 2001, God decided to test me. It wasn't some big scary, hairy test. I didn't have to go to the jungles of Africa or the snowy fields of Russia. I didn't have to sacrifice my oldest son or sell my house and give the money to the poor.
God simply asked me to be baptized.
Now, that doesn't sound like any big deal, right? I mean, Christian's are baptized all the time. Every Sunday in some denominations. I "think" I was baptized as a kid (although it would have been by sprinkling and not by submersion). I say "think" because I don't remember it and neither does my mom. But that's kinda normal because I was the youngest of five kids. My parents remember when I was born and when they paid my college tuition. Everything in between is kind of a blur.
The church we were attending at the time had a very nice portable baptismal that sort of reminded me of a hot tub. I'd seen plenty of people 'dunked' and I knew how meaningful and special it is.
But I did not want to be dunked!
I can't really tell you why. Probably vanity. I didn't want to parade in front of the whole congregation in wet clothes with wet hair. So I came up with "fleeces." You know, like the story of Gideon in Judges 6:36-40. He tested God to see if what God asked him to do was really what God meant. Well, it was. My fleeces, however, were more like roadblocks to baptism. I told the Lord, "I'll be baptized if it can be done in a river." I even told my pastor that. He laughed.
I fought God on this baptism thing for over a year!
Every time we'd have a baptismal service, I'd feel the Holy Spirit nudging me. I'd nudge back and remind him about the river-fleece. Seems kinda silly looking back now. Finally, when the announcement came one Sunday in May 2003 that the next Sunday would be a baptismal service, I gave in.
"All right, Lord," I said. "I'll be baptized next week...if that's what you want."
Secretly I hoped he'd tell me to wait for the river, but he didn't. Sunday arrived. Two other people were supposed to be baptized too, but they ended up not coming. I was the lone dunkee. Pastor asked me to share why I was doing this, because some people were probably a bit curious about the whole thing. I mean, there I was, a leader in the church, doing something that people usually do when they are first saved. I shared my story and then climbed into the warm water. By that point I didn't care about my hair or my clothes. I just cared about God, smiling down on me, saying, "It's about time, Michelle!" :)
I was already saved when I was baptized. I already knew Jesus as my Savior. But---and please don't take this as me comparing myself to Jesus, 'cuz I'm not!!!---Jesus himself was baptized. (Matthew 5:13-17) His was an act of obedience and that's what God wanted me to understand. He wanted my obedience. The baptismal itself was secondary.
I try not to argue with God when he asks me to do something. I know it's for my own good. I know He has an amazing plan and if I'll just stick with him and be obedient, He'll do amazing things in and through me!
It's good to say YES to God!!